We have over 20 years' experience in website design, ecommerce, and online marketing, we can guarantee that we will make you more successful online.
One of the challenges we face in pricing client projects, is that sometimes there is a technical knowledge gap between ourselves and clients. Sadly we too often see clients making purchasing decisions on price alone rather than a "like for like" assessment. This in turn is borne out by the number of potential clients who seek us out for remedial work after their project has gone horribly wrong.
Accordingly we have endeavoured to briefly lay out the main differences between the various options open to people when they wish to invest in an online presence / project. This FAQ (frequently asked questions) section is designed to help everyone regardless of whether they choose to use us or not.
The first point to make is that you need to determine how you want to invest, ergo how much time versus how much money. The more time you have available, the greater your options in the DIY area. The only comment we would make in passing is to remember the 10,000 hour rule, this is how long it's generally regarded you need to train to become "expert" in any field.
The next point is to look at your opportunity cost. Most business coaches that we interact with will tell you that it's far more cost effective to spend time utilising your core skills to grow your business, and bring in experts to cover the fields you had little knowledge or expertise in, rather than muddle through and try to learn those skills yourself.
Frequently asked questions around pricing.
Should I build a free DIY website - there are a number of these services offered on the market, and if you have the time and aptitude you can create a nice looking website. This is well suited to small sole traders, hobbyists, or someone looking to showcase an idea visually. The main issue with these sites is that while they are getting better all the time, typically they aren't well suited to search engine optimisation (SEO), they aren't really commercial grade, and they tend to all look the same. Cheap and cheerful is probably an apt summary.
Should I get my website built offshore - typically this is a bit of a lottery; we have seen the odd good result from this approach and a large number of shockers. There is also often a hidden "mine" waiting to explode down the track with these developments. Typically most of these developments are done in Wordpress as it's easy to learn and cheap. Normally you start with the core Wordpress base and add on modules to suit. However as these developments are typically built in low labour cost environments, what is also typical is that rather than purchase the best plug in, a cheaper one is often used and customised by the cheap local labour to the "nth degree".
If you get a successful outcome, at the start the website goes live and all is good. Then due to the vulnerable nature of Wordpress, (ergo hackers continuously crawling over the open source code to find potential exploits) what then happens is that a new security upgrade comes out. You go to upgrade your website maybe 3 months later and it fails because the highly customised plug in isn't compatible with the upgrade. Meanwhile your developer offshore has moved on and doesn't want to know you, or can't be bothered trawling through their likely undocumented code to make changes. You are then faced with the decision of not applying the security patch, and waiting to be hacked, or getting someone to upgrade your plug in. In almost all the scenarios we've seen like this, it's cheaper to simply write off the work, start over, and install the correct plug in with minimal customisation. Seriously this situation is more common than you would think. The old adage do it once, do it right certainly applies here.
If you are going to go offshore make sure you talk to previous clients of the developers. Ask where your work is going to be done, many sales people based locally front offshore developers. If this is the case and you still want to proceed ask how long they have been using their team offshore and what the staff turnover rate is like.
We operate across a number of platforms to allow us to best match our clients' requirements, and deliver a cost effective solution that performs exceptionally well. We don't use the by-line "preferred by experts" lightly, if you want to be successful online, talk to us first or last.
Should I get a template website or a custom website design - you can get very good templates these days, and you can also customise them to a reasonable degree. The best way to think about this is a template will be between 80% to 90% complete before it's tweaked to meet a client's requirements. Hence it's a budget option that will suit many clients unless they are seeking a unique brand position or highly customised solution./
A custom design is a bespoke design that is created to mirror the requirements and market positioning of the client. It's than hand coded for mobiles, tablets, and desktops, the creative input and additional hours required to achieve this are reflected in the price. Typically a custom design will add another $2,000 to $2,500 to a projects price; however for larger and/or complex briefs an additional budget of $5,000 to $10,000 isn't uncommon due to the additional design layouts required. This is also the case with mobile apps.
Should I go with a proprietary or open source content management system (CMS) - the main point to make here is that proprietary CMS's are far more secure. Primarily as you need to breach a firewall first to find out how the CMS works, then find vulnerability before you're discovered, and then get out again without being noticed. The simple point to consider here is if you're ever heard of larger proprietary CMS like BigCommerce or Shopify sites being hacked vs Wordpress which is notorious in this area. In SiteSuite's case we haven't been hacked in 17 years of operation. Sure we've seen off many brute force denial of service attacks, but they have never breached our firewall. Even if this was to happen our file structures and their interaction would need to be mapped first before any real damage could be done.
With open source software all the file structures reside in the public domain, so if you get access you know where to go to create the most damage. The other point to note in this regard is that it's not just the online environment that needs to be kept secure. We had a client, who came to us due to hacking, and we did an up to date clean install of Wordpress for them, but they got hacked again. Not due to us, but because of "key logger" hacks on some local staff PC's. So while the security of the online hosting environment may be totally intact, the user name and password for access can be gained through hacking a local PC.
Open Source offers great flexibility, and often off the shelf functionality which is cheaper to implement. We develop in Wordpress ourselves because of this, but you must stay on top of your security both at the local PC level and in the hosting environment at all times.
All hosting charges aren't the same, here we discuss Naked vs Full Service Hosting - your website is your online face or shop front to the world, it often bewilders us that clients seem intent on haggling on price in this area, while they happily pay the same monthly price for a mobile phone subscription!
If you are serious about your business the first point is don't be niggardly in this area. If you go for a cheap naked hosted plan, you will get exactly what you pay for, a cheap; all care no responsibility plan, likely with email support only.
The impact of this choice is only evident when things go seriously wrong, and at a commercial level we simply don't believe the naked hosting option is worth the downside risk, unless you have strong technical skills and experience to monitor performance and security yourself.
With a full service hosting plan, typically you will get;
- Regular site backup's
- In our case free ongoing training
- After hours support
- Real people not email support
- In our case small changes to your site design
- Free security and version upgrades
- Email, and in our case webmail
- In our case publish restore, the ability to revert up to the last 5 site publishes
- In our case goodwill support and advice in areas outside of our direct service
Is there any risk in using a single person to do my web development work - continuity is important in any business or organisation. There is a definite commercial risk in having a single dedicated person looking after your online activity either in-house or externally. People go on holidays, change careers, or get better offers. We had a good sized ecommerce client come to us several years ago who had a totally bespoke site. They had to change providers and platforms because their current provider secured a lucrative contract with the Defence Dept. and no longer had the time to support them, we had another case where the developer simply got tired of coding and retired to do gardening.
If you contrast that with the SiteSuite team (currently around 15 people) in our case over 40% of our staff have been with us over 10 years, and over 20% for more than 15 years, this ensures we can offer our clients a reliable continuous service.
What can I expect to pay from a professional "onshore" web design and development agency - offshore pricing tends to be all over the clock depending on the source country used and how big the local margins are, if a local sales person is fronting the project. Accordingly this pricing table focusses on local pricing ranges from a well-established web design and development agency.
- Template brochure site, normal specification - $1,500 to $3,000
- Custom designed brochure site - $3,000 to $5,000, but can easily go as high as $10,000
- Template ecommerce site, normal spec - $3,500 to $5,000
- Custom designed ecommerce site - $5,000 to $10,000, can easily go to $20,000 or $30,000 plus depending on custom functionality requirements
- Custom Mobile App - $20,000 to $50,000 plus
The price guides above are very general. In our case we can often massage specifications to get a project within a client's budget, and we will also offer payment terms on occasion to help clients.
Remember we operate across a number of platforms to allow us to best match our clients' requirements, and deliver a cost effective solution that performs exceptionally well. We don't use the by-line "preferred by experts" lightly, if you want to be successful online, talk to us first or last.